Outcomes

The success rate of the surgery is 98% with the minimally invasive operation or the standard parathyroidectomy.  Almost all patients will have symptomatic improvement and a better quality of life with a successful operation.

The neuromuscular symptoms (fatigue, low energy level, emotional problems, sleeping disorder) will usually improve within the first month after surgery. Other symptoms may take several months to improve. Gastrointestinal problems usually improve with a month or two but this may take up to 6 months.

In patients with kidney stones, the chance of a recurrent stone significantly decreases.

In patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis, bone density will improve over the course of one to two years.

The small number of failures are usually due to one of two factors:

  • Approximately 20% of the time, a parathyroid gland is in an abnormal position (ectopic location). The surgeon can usually find the ectopic parathyroid glands where they are located in the neck; however, occasionally the gland lies behind the sternum in the chest.
  • A small number of patients (5%) have more than four glands. There is no way to know this before surgery.

Long term recurrence rates after a successful operation are very low, approximately 3%.

Recovery from Surgery

Most patients will have a little bit of swelling and soreness in the lower neck. Some will have a little difficulty swallowing, but this resolves quickly. Surgery and anesthesia may cause some fatigue for a few days. Most patients will get back to normal activity within 3-7 days.

For more information, see After Your Surgery.


This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.